Hiro Capital – the leading specialist European VC focused on Videogames, Metaverse Technologies, Creator Platforms and Gamified Fitness – today announces the launch of HIRO CAPITAL II, a €300m ($340m) fund focused on backing the world’s emerging Gaming and Metaverse innovators.
Hiro II will be announcing its first investments in April.
Hiro’s new fund invests in entrepreneurial teams at Seed, A and B across the UK, Europe and North America (and selectively ROW), building innovative and disruptive leaders in Games, Esports, Creator Platforms and Gamified Fitness.
Founded in 2018, Hiro’s name was inspired by Hiro Protagonist, the sword-wielding, Metaverse-hacking samurai hero of Neil Stephenson’s seminal Snowcrash, a novel about video games, VR, digital assets and the neocortex.
Since launch, Hiro has been investing in sci-fi, story-telling IPs and the deep future of games and metaverse technology. Hiro believes strongly in Games as a force for good.
Building on the momentum of Fund I
Between 2019 and 2022, Hiro has made 21 Series A and B Games and Metaverse investments across the UK, EU and USA. The Hiro 1 portfolio is now c.80% invested and is performing strongly, across fast-growing investments such as Polyarc (Seattle) , FitXR (London), FRVR (Lisbon), Keen Games (Frankfurt), Snowprint (Stockholm), LOCO (India) and LIV (Prague). Hiro Capital also co-led a $22m investor consortium alongside Blackrock and Westerly Winds, as part of a Series C round in London-based gamified femtech star Elvie. Hiro’s investors included some of the world’s largest games and technology companies.
“We have been believers in the Metaverse since we created the fund in 2018. Our goal with Hiro is to bring founder-focused venture funding to Games studios and Metaverse technology creators. In 2022 we are at a pivotal moment in the very early phases of the Metaverse, VR, AR and Web3 — these revolutions will take at least a decade and much of the creativity and technology innovation will start in Games. As a team, we have the experience and networks to support the incredible talent that we find across Europe, the UK and beyond. Our new fund gives us more firepower to find and develop emerging stars and level them up to global scale.” Luke Alvarez
Hiro Metaverse Acquisitions 1
In Jan 2022, Hiro Capital 1 became the lead sponsor in a new acquisition vehicle focused on the Videogaming and Metaverse sectors. Hiro Metaverse Acquisitions 1 began trading on the LSE on Feb 7th, only the second ever SPAC to list in London. Hiro MA1 raised £115m (c.$150m) to target Games and Metaverse acquisitions in the $600m-$2.25bn range.
Investing in Games and the Metaverse
With Hiro Capital 1, Hiro Capital II and Hiro MA1, Hiro’s AUM total c.$650m, entirely focused on Games and Metaverse innovators in the UK, Europe and beyond.
Partners with deep knowledge of gaming
The three Hiro founding partners have co-founded startups generating billions of value in exits, have completed five public IPO’s and have scaled six >$500m-sized games companies.
Hiro Managing General Partner, Luke Alvarez, founded Inspired Entertainment, a >$600m EV Nasdaq-listed Virtual Sports games technology leader. Luke is also co-founder of Sknups — a Web3 games skin platform — and was a founding director of The Cloud Network, an early public access cloud platform backed by Accel and acquired by Sky.
Hiro General Partner, Cherry Freeman, co-founded the global community and e-commerce brand LoveCrafts and has spent 10 years working and angel investing in venture-backed tech companies including Elvie, New Voice Media and Mimecast (currently being acquired for $5.8bn) .
Hiro General Partner Sir Ian Livingstone is the co-founder and former chairman of Eidos plc (Lara Croft:Tomb Raider), co-founder of Games Workshop (Warhammer) and co-author of the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. Sir Ian was also an early investor and chairman of Playdemic (sold to EA for $1.4bn in 2021), Tonic Games (sold to Epic in 2021) and Sumo plc (sold to Tencent for $1.3bn in 2022). Ian is also the founder of the Livingstone Academy, a creative, games and compsci focused UK Academy school. Sir Ian is passionate about games and technology playing a key role in educating the next generations of kids.
In addition to the success of Hiro Capital I, on Jan 1 2022 Ian Livingstone CBE became Sir Ian Livingstone CBE as he was formally knighted by HM Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the videogames industry.
The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, announced today that it has added multiple Hong Kong partners from the film, music, entertainment, acting, professional services, finance, real estate, and gaming sectors to create Mega City, a new cultural hub.
The new entrants have joined The Sandbox’s virtual real estate by acquiring LAND NFTs in the open metaverse and have committed to building experiences in Mega City. To celebrate the new partners, The Sandbox will launch a new LAND sale on 13 January 2022 that will allow players to purchase choice spots near the LANDs of the partners announced today.
The Sandbox, which was recently featured by the Wall Street Journal and CNBC as a metaverse pioneer, is building a vast online metaverse where users create and monetize their own distinct worlds and game experiences. Mega City will be a cultural hub based on or inspired by multiple Hong Kong talents.
Partners who acquired LAND to build Mega City in The Sandbox’s metaverse include Hong Kong tycoon Adrian Cheng, alternative investing leader Sun Hung Kai & Co, professional services firm PwC Hong Kong, blockchain-related investment and asset management company TIMES CAPITAL, director/producer/actor Stephen Fung, international star Shu Qi, renowned musician Dough-Boy, game IP Little Fighter, and local illustrator Dreamergo.
Following its recent partnership with South China Morning Post, The Sandbox continues the expansion of Hong Kong culture into the metaverse with the new Mega City cultural hub, featuring the city’s actors, movies, music, entertainment, art, professional services, finance, real estate, and gaming major figures. This mosaic of diverse talents and success stories represents Hong Kong’s enduring vitality, technological advancement, and vibrant culture.
The soul of Mega City is the talent of Hong Kong. More than a strict metaverse reflection of Hong Kong, Mega City is its expansion into the future, a place of dreams and fun. All LAND in Mega City will share this city-of-the-future connection that will be uniquely Hong Kong in its visual approach while reflecting the vision of individual LAND owners.
The new LAND owners who have committed to building Mega City include the following:
Adrian Cheng, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur and well-established strategic investor, is bringing his vision of the future to The Sandbox through unique interactive experiences aimed at the emerging new generation of metaverse players and entrepreneurs. His XL Estate (24 x 24 LANDs) will be the innovation hub of Mega City. One of its main landmarks will be the GBA Pavilion, a vibrant place of creativity and tech wonders showcasing the successes and achievements of the Greater Bay Area startups. Around this pulsating center, the GBA Companies associated with Adrian Cheng, C Venture and Eureka Nova, will be featured and provide entertainment, exclusive NFTs, and immersive experiences, making it the place to be for innovators and dreamers of the future.
Sun Hung Kai & Co. Limited (SHK & Co), a leader in alternative investing headquartered in Hong Kong, entered The Sandbox by participating in its recent US$93M Series B fundraising round. SHK & Co’s XL Estate will bring to The Sandbox an experience bridging finance, sports, art and culture from around the world, augmented by SHK & Co’s global investment reach. A financial hub will showcase SHK & Co’s portfolio companies and their services, especially those related to TMT, crypto, and blockchain ecosystems. A virtual museum will present SHK & Co’s art collections, including an exclusive NFT of SHK & Co’s iconic Scallywag racing yacht. Revenues generated will be donated to the SHK & Co Foundation to support various charitable initiatives in the Greater China region. The SHK & Co LAND will include environments to host investor events, exhibitions, exclusive parties, and private performances. SHK & Co has been a long-standing investor in Animoca Brands, the parent company of The Sandbox, since 2018, before blockchain and NFTs captured the public’s attention and influenced the gaming landscape. The company’s recent investments in both The Sandbox and LAND reflect its continued belief in the future of open ecosystems and the long-term value that they can create for all stakeholders.
PwC Hong Kong is a member firm of the PwC global network of professional services firms. The firm will play a valuable role in the growth of the open metaverse particularly by helping to build an ecosystem where companies and brands that may be less familiar with Web 3.0 can get the advice they need to explore the new and exciting opportunities created by this technology.
TIMES CAPITAL is a blockchain-related investment and asset management institution that will collaborate with local game studios and creators to bring to the Mega City an immersive Hong Kong film IP museum and game experience based on its over 150 classic films IP portfolio. The LAND will also include one of the largest NFT galleries in The Sandbox, displaying TIMES CAPITAL’s rich collection of NFTs, including icons like CryptoPunks, the Meebits, and much more.
Stephen Fung and Shu Qi, the award-winning entertainment stars, are entering The Sandbox to create an exciting district of Mega City that will showcase their talents and love for art and culture. Bridging tradition and modernity, director/producer Stephen Fung will create immersive experiences paying homage to Hong Kong film classics as well as a special NFT gallery that will showcase his creations and those of new artists selected by him. International actress and model Shu Qi will present experiences that favor direct interaction with fans, with a social hub where she will showcase exclusive NFTs.
Dough-Boy@BlueArk, the award-winning artist and music producer, will create the BlueArk Land, Asia’s first clubbing metaverse hub, in The Sandbox. It will be a social gathering spot for party animals to experience music, games, art, and beyond, all curated by Dough-Boy and his friends. Exclusive NFT private passes will give access to many unique experiences that will take place at the BlueArk Land including The Warehouse, The Wrestling Room, The Concert Hall, and The Shop.
Little Fighter (LF) creator Marti Wong will lead the development of the Little Fighter Metaverse in The Sandbox. The ultimate virtual amusement park of Mega City, Little Fighter Metaverse will be a virtual world with four different stages: Kowloon City, Ninja Village, Ice and Fire Island, and the Evil Castle. Players will meet and interact with all the most iconic characters from the world of Little Fighter, go on adventures together, solve puzzles, and fight alongside them in missions. All stages will have prizes including exclusive NFT rewards. Ready? Fight!
Dreamergo, the popular Hong Kong-based illustrator, will build Dreamergo World, a virtual fantasy park in The Sandbox. It will showcase the delicate art of Dreamergo, converting over a thousand illustrations full of love and dreams into the voxel style and bringing those lovable icons into a new dimension. Players will be able to collect their favorite characters as exclusive NFTs, locate them to take photos, and explore and play with them in worlds based on Dreamergo’s soothing illustration style.
The involvement of the partners announced today follows The Sandbox’s Alpha launch in Q4 2021, which gives anyone the opportunity to participate in play-to-earn gameplay to earn SAND, The Sandbox’s utility token. Players can now experience the metaverse as they play or take a creative role, building assets and worlds that can be traded as NFTs with other players, creators, and artists on the platform.
The Sandbox has secured over 165 partnerships, including Adidas, Snoop Dogg, The Walking Dead, South China Morning Post, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, CryptoKitties, Shaun the Sheep, Mcdull, and Hanjin Tan, to build a fun, creative play-to-earn platform that offers virtual worlds and game experiences owned and created by players. The play-to-earn model gives players true ownership of anything they collect in the game, allowing them to trade it to other players (including outside the game on other websites), transfer it to other players, or even resell it.
Upcoming LAND Sale On 13 January 2022, The Sandbox will hold a Mega City LAND sale that will allow users to purchase LAND located near to the Mega City projects announced today. The partner’s estates can be seen on The Sandbox virtual world map. Premium LAND located near the partners will be offered, and each will include exclusive premium NFTs and have the possibility to host events, gaming experiences, or social hubs.
The Sandbox has already sold 70% of its 166,464 LAND NFTs, releasing them in successive waves that usually sell out in seconds. Existing LAND owners include Binance, CoinCheck, Metakovan, Pranksy, Socios, and CoinMarketCap, among others.
The Mega City Land Sale starting Jan 13 features eight partners from Hong Kong
The Game Awards has launched its first official metaverse experience on Core, a platform for user-created games, interactive experiences and live events.
Fans will be able to watch and interact with the awards show live on Thursday, December 9 beginning at 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT from inside of Axial Tilt, an interactive world that serves as a metaverse hub for programming and events hosted by Geoff Keighley.
Axial Tilt on Core introduces an entirely new way for viewers to experience The Game Awards, allowing them to watch the show live and simultaneously participate in several unique interactive experiences that are only available during the broadcast. This includes a red carpet experience beginning at 7:00 PM ET / 4:00 PM PT the day of show, and an afterparty immediately following the ceremony featuring a special guest DJ. Fans will be able to predict the winners of select categories live during the broadcast to win exclusive Core-related prizes. Participants can also keep entertained before, during and after the show by playing multiple mini-games available inside Axial Tilt.
“I’m always on the lookout for exciting new ways to bring The Game Awards to new audiences,” said Geoff Keighley, creator, executive producer and host of The Game Awards. “The emergence of new metaverse platforms like Core, and the social experiences they enable around live events, presented an amazing opportunity to give fans a new interactive way to enjoy the show. And considering it’s a show about interactive entertainment, it felt like a perfect fit.”
While The Game Awards’ programming is available exclusively on Core, Axial Tilt is a world that exists as multiple instances across the metaverse, having launched earlier this year on Fortnite Creative. The two versions of Axial Tilt have a similar look and feel, however, the gameplay and worlds are slightly different. Crossover events between the two will happen in the future.
Axial Tilt is available for free on Core today at www.coregames.com/games/a9ea61/axial-tilt or players can take a portal directly from Core World, the starting hub world for all Core players. Core can be downloaded at CoreGames.com or the Epic Game Store. You can download Fortnite from the Epic Games Store and access Axial Tilt by typing in map code 0960-3147-4924 into the Island Code tab.
Produced by Geoff Keighley, The Game Awards is one of the widest distributed digital events on the planet, with a record setting 83 million livestreams in 2020. The Game Awards brings together game industry creators, esports champions, digital influencers and Hollywood names for a night of awards, exclusive game world premieres, announcements and musical performances, including the return of The Game Awards Orchestra, conducted by acclaimed composer Lorne Balfe.